Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

Motivation for Moms

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

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Sunday, July 29, 2012
Well, we're home...  Friday we decided to drive straight home and skip Mt. Vernon and the Yorktown/Williamsburg/Jamestown "triangle".  :o(  Mama's not happy about that, but Reese was happy to be going home.  His July has been incredibly busy and he just wanted to get home for a week of rest before school started again.  Can't blame him... 

So we drove almost 14 hours (got up there in 12...) and were glad to be greeted at home by Mark, Erik and my mom.  :o) 

Tomorrow's Monday and I head back to work, Mom goes back to Seattle today and Reese ...I guess Reese will hang out at home with Erik or with his friends.  And life goes on...

Thank you for keeping up with my blog this week!!  Our Family Bouquet has been horribly neglected and it was kinda fun to revive it again for a week.  Hope you enjoyed it!  :o)
Thursday, July 26, 2012
On to Day Four, and our last day in Washington...

Yesterday, we stopped here, but the line was really long and we were standing in the hot afternoon sun for so long that we decided to skip it and try it today.  To my surprise, we actually followed a plan that we'd previously laid out and we arrived at 9:30am!  And that was AFTER finding a parking place!!  (Ohhh, don't get me started on the parking situation around here...!!!!) 

Here is the actual theater.  Most of my 5 readers will know that the box office in the center of this photo is where Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln were when Mr. Lincoln was shot.  This theater still has plays on a regular basis and is very much a working theater.  Pretty cool, huh?

What's he reading, Reese?  Maybe "The Hunger Games"??

This is the pillow that he laid his head on as he lay dying.  So sad...
And the gun that killed him by the hand of John Wilkes Booth.  Grrrr...

After that sobering exhibit, we moved on to something lighter: the International Spy Museum!!  We didn't want to pay the ridiculous $20 fee they wanted, so we just went on to the store and actually had a really fun time there! 

I could make one of many comments here, but I'll just let you formulate your own.  ;op

Ah, one of my very favorite photos of the whole trip.  :o)  I told him someday when he's sitting in his Congressman's office, he'll have this photo framed on his desk as a "Remember When", he was still dreaming...

Just another shot of the Capital Building.  It's so magnificent it's hard NOT to take pictures of it!

And another...

In case you were wondering where we were walking (walking?  Did I say "walking" again?!?) we were headed back to the Cannon Building (one of the three office buildings where House members keep their offices) to visit our new friends.  This was actually one of the highlights of the whole trip for Reese:

This is Representative Sandy Adams, our district's Representative.  It was her intern that showed us around the Capital building the other day and who were all so nice to us in her office.  We finally tracked down a time when we could meet her and thank her for the tour and she was so very nice to us.  She knew just where Mims was of course (bless her heart) because of course, Brevard county is one of the four counties who she serves.  Yay.  She's a good one, I do believe.  One of her staff even brings his dog to work and he hangs around the office all day, which I thought was neat.  She seemed genuinely interested in us and asked all about what we'd done during our visit and we told her but then we also told her about the concerns we'd had about the monument to the 56 Signers of the Constitution and she was upset to hear it.  I don't know if she can do anything about it or not, but at least we said something.

Then, we scooted back over to Ron Paul's office to meet HIM.  Now, say what you might about Dr. Paul (I agree with about 75% of what he says, wholeheartedly, but the other 25% of what he says... well, not so much.), but he was a VERY nice man (if he wasn't a distinguished congressman, I'd say he was cute old guy!) and really seemed pleased to have us stop by.  He and Reese are seen above discussing politics (small government and getting out of wars and other countries' business), and that was fun to listen to.  :o) 

Here he is, signing the book he wrote.  No, Reese is not going to sneeze...  He also gave us each a copy (in booklet form) of the Constitution that he signed.

The three of us in front of the Texas flag.  (Again with the extra 25 pounds the camera adds to women...!)  Not sure what we were laughing about, but we were pretty happy at this point...

Just walking past again so I got a picture.  On Monday(?) Reese and I ate lunch under this building with the employees.  It's a perk for having influential friends...  (Like interns who show you how to access the tunnels!)

After seeing our friends Sandy and Ron, we headed across the way to the Senate office buildings and made our way to Marco Rubio's office (I've been a fan of his for some time).  We didn't expect he'd be there (he was in a "meeting") but we thought we could always try!!  It was a MUCH MORE FORMAL building than the Cannon Building (obviously - look at it!!) and we were the ONLY people in the entire place with street clothes on (unlike the Cannon).  Reese was in his glory.  He SOOOOO wants to work in a place like this!!  He was practically drooling the entire time we walked about.  We walked through a cafeteria area and there were Senators all over the place (we knew that Congressmen wear a certain lapel pin so we always looked for it) eating lunch.  WOW.  Pretty neat. 

One more shot of the Capital building as we walked (did I say "walk" AGAIN?!?) to our car.  We were crossing the street and I was able to take this as I walked, and I didn't even get hit by a car.  I'm so talented.

Tomorrow we leave Washington and head to Jamestown/Yorktown/Williamsburg and see what we'll see there and then head home.  It's been an exhausting (did I say "walk"???) but very good vacation that meant a lot to the both of us.  :o)  I will try and blog again tomorrow but the Washington stuff is overwith now. 

Okay, this is Day Four, but last night I was so dead tired I couldn't even log on to Facebook to say, "I'm too tired to blog!" so I had Reese do it! So I'm going to try to remember things as they happened yesterday, then I'll do today's.

Here is Reese in front of the National Museum of American History.  This is my favorite of the Smithsonian museums.  :o)  He liked it too, but he liked all the "war" exhibits and I liked all the "pop culture" exhibits.  Ha!

See?  My first exhibit photo is of my good friend, Mr. Kermit the Frog!

And here are Dorothy's Ruby Slippers...

And POOP!  I just realized I didn't pull up one that I took of Archie Bunker's chair, Fonzie's leather jacket, and one other thing... (What was it???)  Well, it takes way too long to pull up ONE photo, and I'm not going back to the beginning to find that one, so you'll just have to use your imagination.  Sorry!

Okay, here's a good "war" one: George Washington's uniform!  :o)  I love George Washington.

Okay, after we did the museum, we walked (of course we walked!) to the National Archives, where the Constitution, the Declaration of  Independence and the Bill of Rights are all housed.  No photos from in there, sorry.  NOT ALLOWED.  :o( 

Just another pretty shot of the Washington Monument.  :o)

From there, we DROVE to the Jefferson Memorial.  Funny, we still had to walk about 1/2 mile from the parking lot to the monument...  I like this monument a lot.  I like Thomas Jefferson, sure, but I like the monument cause it kind of sits off by itself, is on the water and isn't as popular as Lincoln's Monument.  It's quieter and a little bit more ...humble??

While we were there, several "United States of America" blue helicopters flew overhead, very close.  It made us wonder who was in there...??

Back to Jefferson.  I included a few photos here so you could not only see his statue, but also read the inscriptions on the walls of some of his famous quotes.  Some of the things said are so austere (is that the word??) that people today really need to read them!!!  He says some things that we just truly have fallen away from... 

Geez, I hope it's the camera that's making me look so fat...  don't they say photos make you gain 25 pounds??

Walking around AGAIN, I guess I took this picture of something.  Not sure what it is...  Neither of us can remember.  If you know what it is, be sure and pipe up in the comments section!  (If I'd've gotten my rear end out of bed last night and blogged before it went cold in my brain I'm sure I would have remembered...  *said through gritted teeth*)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Oh, my goodness...  I'm not 17 anymore...!!

Today was another terrific day in D.C.  :o)  We had plans to do the Smithsonian museums today, but we veered WAY off schedule, but that's okay, cause we're just having fun!

We drove all the way into D.C. because I just REALLY hate the Metro.  (Did I forget to tell the story about how yesterday riding the Metro in to D.C. I almost passed out?  Well, I did.  But that's not why I hate it.) 

We arrived at the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Marines Corps Band was just finishing practicing for a concert to be held tomorrow evening (I think).  That was neat to see.  They quickly left, and we carried on.  Reese wanted to go to the Pentagon, but by the time we got in there, the parking area was so crazy and I was so nervous about driving the wrong way or going in a Restricted area that we left and my nerves were shot.  Sorry, Reese!!  Next time, we'll take the bus in and they'll take us to the right place.

My husband's father fought (and survived) the battle at Iwo Jima so I felt really honored to visit here and share it with Reese.

   Reese would really love to be able to serve in the military (and would be GREAT at it!) but he can't, due to his legs and hand...  He's got all the traits that would make him an EXCEPTIONAL Marine, but it's just not meant to be...

A close up.  It was VERY hazy today, so I had a hard time getting good photos.  The lighting was just really weird and my camera didn't always handle it well.  As a result, several pictures were not included in this blog post.

   The base of the monument.

  After Iwo Jima, we drove over to Arlington National Cemetery, where we parked our car for the day.  Reese initially didn't really think he'd enjoy this place, but he soon changed his mind.  ;o)

  We walked ALL OVER the cemetery, and our first stop was JFK and Jackie's graves, with the Eternal Flame. 

  We walked, and walked and walked...

There was a little amphitheater that was not being used with grassy "ceilings".  It was really pretty.  Reese got a pretty nice shot of me, too!  (This was before losing the 87 pounds of fat lost after walking the 345 miles that we walked that day.  In the heat.  And the humidity!)

  Reese was really appreciative of the sacrifices of the military.  He is very patriotic and loves his adopted country very much.  I love that about him. 

Eventually, we arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.  Naturally, we stayed for the Changing of the Guard.  I remember seeing this when I was 16 and I never forgot it.  There is something SO amazing about this ceremony (the whole thing, really!) that affects you.  It's almost a spiritual feeling.  To know the extreme importance placed on upon unknown soldiers who died fighting for MY freedom and knowing how eternally their graves are guarded...  well, you have to be there.  I can't fully explain it...

Here is the "boss", officiating over the change.  Wow.  These people are SERIOUS about their duty.  I found a really cool website explaining some of the amazing sacrifices that these guards give on this website:  http://sharprightturn.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/facts-about-tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier/  Your jaw will drop when reading some of the stuff that these guys give up for the honor of guarding the Unknowns.

So then, my precious, precious son suggests that we WALK TO THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL.  Yes!  We'd just walked up and down these HUGE hills in the heat all over Arlington, and he thinks nothing of suggesting that we simply walk the mile + distance loaded down with the backpack and camera bag.  Suuuuuure, son!!  NO PROBLEM!!!  So we walked...

 At this point, when the photo was taken, I couldn't feel my legs from the long walk.  Being the good sport I am, I am still smiling.

 The medics were tending to me at this point.

We bought a hotdog, drink and shared a large fries for lunch.  I kid you not, it was $18.  More medics.

After I came to, we decided as long as we were there, we might as well walk down the Reflecting Pool to the new WWII Memorial.  WHY NOT?!  The IV the Medics gave me helped quite a bit, so off we set.  The first stop was at the Vietnam Memorial.

No, this is not just a grassy yard.  Look beyond it.  You can see the Wall. 

 A closer view.  Though it seems very simple, a park ranger explained that there is a LOT of symbolism that went into the design.

We then moved on to a monument that I'm quite sure no one reading this blog (all 5 of you) has ever heard of.  "Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence".  I was happy to know there was a monument made to these men who nearly ALL came to a violent end after signing the document as they were then known as traitors.  Their homes were burned down, their families slaughtered, etc.  Yet, so little is made of them.  So we headed on over there, which wasn't too easy since I couldn't feel my legs, but also there was no sign to lead us and the path we took was VERY rough - it obviously BADLY needed to be repaved and it was surprising.  Also, the path was dirty and the water that the monument was displayed on (as in a small peninsula) was FILTHY.  Could this really be it??  Yes, it was.  The names of the Signers were all carved in blocks with their names, occupations, and home towns, all written in gold leaf and in their handwriting.  But, the gold leaf was peeling, or filled with dirt, and there were cigarette butts and other trash all over the ground.  VERY SAD.  We fully plan on talking to our Representative friend, Sandy Adams, about this, and see if there's something she can do.  We also might mention it to our other friend, Ron Paul.  (We plan to go visit them again tomorrow or Thursday.)

So here are a few pictures.  This memorial could be so beautiful if it was TENDED TO!!!

  It's basically two semi-circles made up of the blocks.  I should have uploaded a photo of one of the blocks.  You can see the water and the Washington Monument in the background.  See how pretty this place could be?  It's so terribly, terribly neglected...


Moving on (can't feel my hips), we walked to the new WWII Memorial.  I had a patient tell me that he was flown (with other vets) on a private jet to the dedication of this memorial and he said how much it meant to him.  It's an AMAZING, WONDERFUL memorial!!!  WOW!!  The pictures I took simply do not do it justice.  Finally, finally, a monument to WWII has been erected and it is out of this world.

Each state had a column with a wreath.

An overview.

Each of these stars represents 100 American soldiers killed in battle. 

  There were two of these "gazebos", one for the Atlantic, one for the Pacific.  All of the states were represented, as well as all of the American territories.


  A distant view, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background (the WWII Memorial is practically at the base of the Washington Monument).


Since I already couldn't feel anything from my waist, down, and my arms were starting to go numb, too, we figured we might as well keep going.  So, we walked to the White House!

Some day, Reese!  Some day!!

After this, we walked to the Metro Station, 1/4 mile away, downtown.  We saw some fancy schmancy places, I'll tell you!  Pretty neat!  We took the Metro back to the Arlington Cemetery (no, I was NOT going to walk back there!!!!!!!!) and thought someone stole our rental car.  One of the workers at the cemetery helped us find it, on the lowest level of the garage, right where we left it.  ;op  We were tired.

Good night!!  I'M GOING TO BED!!!!  Oh, and by the way, after my long, hot bath, all the feeling came back into my body, and now I'm just sore all over.  LOL

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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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